California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

Prices are Declining for California Workers Compensation Rates in 2019 

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are going to cost the business community less than in 2018. The average rate of $1.63 per $100 in payroll by Jan. 1 will be approximately 72 percent lower than when rates peaked in 2015. In 2015 the recommended rate was $2.81 per $100 in payroll.  According to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, “Cost savings in the workers’ compensation system have helped insurers and employers deserve to share in the cost savings through lower premiums,” This is the lowest rates for workers compensation insurance have been in the state of California in five years.

Iconic Golden Gate Bridge, atracts businesses to San Francisco. Those businesses will be paying less for California Workers Compensation Rates 2019.

What is contributing to Lower California Workers Compensation Rates 2019?

California has some of the highest rates for workers compensation insurance in the country the California Workers Compensation Bureau WCIRB has pointed to a high frequency of permanent disability claims as a reason for higher costs. Also, California has a higher than average cost of handling claims and delivering benefits. This contributes to the state having higher rates for workers compensation premium. Businesses in the state of California spent $16.2 billion on workers’ compensation just last year.

In 2019, California Workers Compensation Rates are continuing to decrease for the fifth straight year primarily because of reforms made to fight the opioid epidemic, low inflation for medical and pharmaceutical costs, and increased fraud investigations. The amount paid out for opioids in 2018 was nearly a fifth of what it was in 2013. This drop was from $15,687 to $3,204 per 100 claims, according to WCIRB, the California Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau. A large part of the reason for the decrease in what the workers compensation system paid out for opioid prescriptions is because California enacted a program called CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). CURES is a database of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in California serving the public health, regulatory oversight agencies, and law enforcement.The CURES Program requires dispensing pharmacies, clinics, or other dispensers of Schedule II through IV controlled substances to provide specified dispensing information to the Department of Justice on a weekly basis in a format approved and accepted by the DOJ. This has significantly decreased the amount of opioid abuse throughout the state and that has benefited the workers compensation system.

Iconic Hollywood, California

What can Business Owners do to continue saving on California Workers Compensation Rates 2019

California Workers Compensation Rates 2019 are decreasing for the fifth straight year. This represents a decrease of 72 percent over this time period, but businesses in California still pay more for workers comp coverage than nearly all states throughout the country. Because of these high rates, it is important to maximize savings in any way possible. Here are five ways business owners can alter the way they do business in order to save on commercial insurance.

Make sure your business is classified properly

Far too many businesses are classified improperly for purposes of workers compensation insurance. This is attributed to a number of reasons, but many times it is because a business owner rushes through the quoting process when purchasing Workmans Comp Insurance California. An insurance agent can only act upon the information they are given by the business owner when they are shopping for the best coverage to fit a business owners needs. If the business owner does not explain many intricacies of their business, the business may be classified improperly and pay more or less for coverage throughout the year. This mistake usually gets cleared during the end of term audit, but it can cause a business to owe additional premium. Even if the business over pays and is issued a refund, it means the business has tied up valuable cash flow in unnecessary premium payments throughout the year. These unnecessary payments could have been used on other more important business expenses.

Implement a Safety Program

A Safety Program can help limit the cost of workers compensation insurance in California because it will limit both the frequency and severity of claims. When you business has less claims and the claims you do have are small, the insurance carrier is more likely to offer your business a favorable rate for premium.

Start the Safety Program the day employees are hired

Safety Programs should be a part of your company culture. This should not start after a month in which a few accidents occur. Safety should be part of the training program from the moment an employee starts on the job. The more the business (especially the key employees) talk about safety, the more likely that message is to fester throughout the organization.

Add a Return-to-Work Program to your Safety Policy

A Return to Work Program can significantly impact your experience modification rating in a positive way. When an employee is hurt and not able to work they are much more likely to develop new habits outside of their daily work routine. The longer they stay off the job, the more likely the injured employee is to become long term unemployed. This can have a drastic impact on the experience modification rating of the business. Businesses that are able to get an employee back on the job, even in a limited capacity, are more likely to have those employees return to permanent work.

Communicate with your Insurance Carrier and Healthcare Provider

Communication is key when it comes to navigating the workers compensation system. This is true for the business owner, the injured worker, the insurance agent as well as the underwriter who represents the insurance carrier. The business owner has a responsibility to help the injured worker navigate the workers compensation system and get the care they deserve while not able to work. It is important to keep your agent in the loop throughout this process even though it is the responsibility of the carrier to administer the program. Keeping the agent in the loop can help in the unfortunate event that the carrier is not living up to their end of the bargain. If the agent knows about this process throughout, they can help hold the carrier accountable.

Surfing the California Coast

What are the Requirements for Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage in the State of California?

In California, all employers are required to purchase workers compensation coverage regardless of the number of employees. Sole Proprietors are not automatically included in coverage, but can elect to be included using the Acord 130 Application. Partners are automatically included on policies and they are not allowed to be exempt. Corporate Officers who happen to be the sole shareholder are excluded from coverage, but they have the ability to elect coverage if they so choose. All LLC Members who work within a business are included for coverage, but non-working LLC Members are excluded from coverage unless they elect to be covered using the Acord 130 form.

What are the Payroll Requirements for Business Owners in California?

According to California regulation, Sole Proprietors who elect to include themselves on workers comp coverage must use a minimum payroll amount of $52,000 and a maximum of $133,900 for rating purposes as of January First, 2019. Partners, Officers and LLC Members who do not excluded themselves from coverage must utilize a minimum payroll of $52,000 and a maximum of $133,900 for the purpose of rating workers comp premium.

 

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Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges.

What are the liability concerns for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges?

Gun Clubs

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges are businesses that provide places for firearms enthusiasts to practice firing various types of firearms.  Some gun clubs and shooting ranges are indoors and allow shooting primarily with handguns at close distances. Other facilities are much larger. They may include outdoor facilities that allow shooting at long range distances.  A majority of these facilities offer lessons and concealed carry classes for beginning firearms enthusiasts’.  Not all facilities offer sales of weapons and accessories, rentals of weapons and even repair for damaged weapons; but those that do face additional liability.  Still other facilities offer periodic tournaments and competitions. Each of these aspects of the business bring with them additional risks.  Depending upon the business activities of each individual gun club or shooting range the liability needs for each business can be drastically different.

Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges are rising in popularity. Make sure your business is covered properly by reading myinsurancequestion.com

Workers Compensation Risks for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Workers Compensation Exposures at gun clubs and shooting ranges are similar to many facilities open to the public, but are different in some aspects. Slips, trips and falls are common causes of injuries in these facilities, but there is an increased level of risk when a firearm is involved.  Injuries that involve a firearm tend to be much more severe in nature.  Businesses that operate in this industry typically have a normal frequency of claims, but those claims do tend to be more severe. Because of this elevated amount of risk, all staff need to be thoroughly trained and required to wear proper safety equipment.

Find the answers to your liability questions about Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges at myinsurancequestion.com

Safety concerns for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

Employees at gun clubs and shooting ranges face both short term and long term risks. Firearms are loud.  Very loud in some cases.  Ear protection is important to protect the long term hearing health of your staff.  Providing the ear protection for your employees and having a program in place to ensure they are actually wearing ear protection is essential to the long term health of your employees and the health of your business. Also, eye protection should be worn when in the presence of live fire. Again, it is wise investment for the business to provide proper safety equipment because it will ensure your employees are wearing the proper equipment.  Additionally, if you require the employees to purchase their own equipment it can develop a bad attitude among the employees about the safety equipment. Spending additional investment on adequate safety and training programs can go a long way towards keeping your staff safe.  A safe staff is a happy and productive staff. Taking additional time to protect your employees will help them be more productive and can prevent a costly insurance claim.

 

6 Tips for controlling the cost of a Workers Compensation Claim.

  1. Quickly report all claims to the insurer.

Some states have requirements for how quickly a workers compensation claim must be reported. Insurance carriers have specific departments that deal with claims exclusively. They will know the process thoroughly for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Because this is a process your business hopefully does not deal with frequently, getting your injured worker the proper coverage quickly will be easier with the help of your carrier.  Documenting the claims allows the carriers to pick up on patterns and help businesses develop programs to prevent common injuries.

  1. Make sure supervisors are adequately trained.

Taking care of an injured employee may not be at the top of the priority list when hiring a manager for your business. Hopefully it is not something your managers have to encounter very frequently, but it needs to be something they can effectively deal with for the success of your business. Many businesses have a point person who studies the workers compensation claim process thoroughly. It is still important to have this person train the other managers to be aware of this process in case of an incident occurring when they are not on duty or away on vacation.

Communicating with your employees is important to limiting the impact of a workers compensation claim.

  1. Keep complete notes of the injury and reporting process.

Note taking is crucial in everything you do within your business. This is especially important when you experience a workers compensation insurance claim.  It may seem tedious, but it can save your business immensely if a claim makes it into the court of law.  Besides the fact you need to cover your business legally, accurate documentation helps your carrier document injuries within your industry. They can use this information to see patterns and to determine appropriate safety programs to deal with those patterns.

  1. Communication is key.

Communicating with all parties involved in the workers compensation claim is extremely important. This starts with communicating with your employee. In most states they have the right to seek a second opinion, but the more you keep your carrier in the loop of these situations the better they can help you control the cost of the claim.  Separate from the cost of the claim, it is in your best interest to let your injured employee know you care about their well-being.  Communicating with both your insurance agent and carrier is important as well. The carrier is the one equipped to handle the claim, not your agent.  The agent can be helpful if you feel your carrier is not living up to your expectations. Keeping them updated on the workers compensation claim can help you ensure you are getting the proper attention from your carrier and they can help you prepare for explaining the claim when you go to renew your policy.

A proper safety program can prevent employee injuries and limit a workers compensation claim.

  1. Prevent employees from injuries.

Safety programs are key to the long term success of your business. Making a safety plan part of your ongoing training is essential to your business and it does not have to take a lot of time.  Fifteen minute discussions two or three times a month should be sufficient. Make sure the meetings have a specific topic and ask for feedback from your employees. Asking for their feedback gets them involved in the discussion. This will make them more involved in the program. It can lead to higher job satisfaction if those employees feel like you are listening and make changes based on their feedback.

  1. Create a return to work program.

Studies have shown that the quicker a person gets back on the job in any form or fashion, the more likely they are to return to permanent work.  Humans are creatures of habit. Coming to work is part of their habit and the longer they go without that habit the more likely they are to create new habits not associated with your business. This is when a claim can get out of control if an injured employee goes on long term or permanent disability.  Designing low impact work of some kind will allow those employees to return to work and get back in the routine of work quicker.

6 ways to save when shopping for Workers’ Comp Insurance

Workers’ Compensation is one type of insurance that is required by law in nearly every state in the country. Because of this it is imperative that all business owners take advantage of every way they can to save on this required coverage. There are a few things business owners can change about their daily operations that can have a noticeable effect on what they pay for worker’s compensation insurance.

Keep a well-documented safety program.

Keeping a well-documented safety program includes a return to work program for injured workers and a detailed driver safety program if you have workers who will be driving as part of their normal work related duties. Safety programs do not have to take a lot of time away from your normal business routine to help you save your business money. It can be as little as a 15-minute huddle once a week. The meetings do need to be regular, but they can be weekly, bimonthly, monthly, whatever you determine is best for your business.  Attendance should be recorded as well as the subjects covered at each meeting. A well-documented safety program can really benefit your company when you do have an injury. If you have a well-documented safety program in place than your agent can speak with your insurance carrier and defend your business as one that is taking the needed steps to limit claims. If you have these programs in place the agent can more easily show the injury as more of an outlier and not a sign of trouble ahead.

 

Make sure you are in the proper classification code

Being placed in the wrong classification code happens more frequently than one might imagine. This can change what you pay in premium both positive and negative. There is an audit at the end of every term so this can cause unexpected costs at the end of the year for many businesses. Landscaping is a good example of an industry that has two classification codes that are much different in price. The two main classification codes for landscaping are 9102 & 0042. 9102 is for businesses that maintain already existing lawns and garden beds. 0042 is for businesses that design and install lawns and beds. This is a more dangerous undertaking and costs more in premium. If you are not crystal clear with your agent what your business does on a daily basis, they may assume you are in a riskier classification code. This can cause your business to pay more in premium than it has to. This can be a problem even if you pay too little because an audit is run at the end of every term and if you are than classified correctly, any premium that is owed will then be due. 

 

Actively ask your agent for approved credits and discounts.

Credits and discounts are available for many industries. They are offered by the state and the individual carriers to help business owners save on premium. Your agent has to ask for them in order to get the full amount of discount possibly available. If you bring this to their attention as a priority early in your interaction with them they will know to actively seek the best price. Insurance Agents have to deal with many business owners on a daily basis and the priorities of each business owner may be very different. Many business owners value their time above anything else. These business owners may rather pay a little more in order to just have the process over. If price is an important determining factor in your choice to buy commercial insurance, then let your agent know this up front. That way they can actively seek out every credit or discount available. 

 

Price shop, but do it carefully. 

You should always shop your policy around to make sure you are getting a competitive rate.  This is the first thing to do when you want to save on commercial insurance.  Switching for a moderate discount is not advised. This becomes important when your business inevitably has a claim. Your business will have a claim at some point in time. If you are a customer that has been with the carrier for several years, they are less likely to raise your rate on decline coverage of you altogether. If you are a business that switches carriers every year for a modest decline in price than you are much more likely to be dropped from coverage when a claim does occur. If you are dropped from coverage and cannot find insurance from another carrier than you are forced in to what is called the state fund. Policies in the state fund are much more expensive and depending upon your state once you are in the state fund you must remain there for 2-4 years. 

 

Have an informative website.

A website is beneficial to your business in more ways than just marketing. When you are applying for commercial insurance your agent is going to ask several questions about your daily operations. They are going to investigate it and so is the underwriter of the insurance carrier you are getting a quote from. If you tell them, you only do one type of business and your website shows you are doing something else than you better be prepared to explain what you do or do not do on a daily basis. On the contrary if you have a website that confirms what you have told your agent it will strengthen your relationship with them. This will help when and if you have a claim and need them to help you explain what happened to your insurance carrier. 

Consider changing the limits to your policy

The limits of your policy are important to protect your business, but they are not set in stone. They are not the same for every business owner either. Some business owners want to protect their business fully. Even protect it beyond what could imaginably happen to their business. Other Business owners are quite comfortable taking on more risk. If you are one of those business owners than lowering your limits is one way to lower what you pay in premium. Now most carriers will have a minimum amount you have to take, but if you are above those limits it may be worth your while to speak with your insurance agent about the pros and cons of lowering those limits. As long as you are making an informed decision and you know the risks you are taking lowering the limits of your policy can be an effective way to save on premium.